Increased support for Warwickshire families affected by road accidents - The Leamington Observer

Increased support for Warwickshire families affected by road accidents

Leamington Editorial 16th Feb, 2021   0

FAMILIES suffering bereavement or a serious injury following a road accident in Warwickshire will now have increased support.

A pilot project with Brake, the road safety charity, is providing the county with a dedicated Independent Road Victim Advocate (IRVA) to provide expert, one-to-one support to people living within Warwickshire who have been seriously affected by a road collision.

The role – courtesy of Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe’s Road Safety Fund – is not to investigate the collision but to work in partnership with the Family Liaison Officer to provide emotional and practical support to improve the individual’s wellbeing.

As well as offering a safe environment to discuss how injured victims or their families are feeling and look at ways to access help, the advocate’s role is to help people cope better with emotional and physical symptoms including by accessing help through their GP, sourcing specific support services and providing a care plan.

The IRVA will also help with practical and legal challenges following a bereavement, such as funeral arrangements, financial concerns or sourcing community support for everyday ongoing needs.

Warwickshire PCC Philip Seccombe said: “While there has been good progress in road safety in Warwickshire, incidents on our roads are still the leading cause of death and serious injury that the police deal with. For every victim in Warwickshire many more people will be affected, including friends, family and loved ones.

“I’m therefore pleased to be working with Brake to offer this pilot in Warwickshire, which is helping ensure bereaved families understand and receive the support that is available to them as they negotiate the extremely traumatic period following losing someone in a collision.

“The project has been very well received by all those it has worked with so far and it’s great to be able to lead the way nationally. My office will be working with Brake to evaluate this pilot over the coming months to see how we can move towards a permanent solution in future.”

The support role is being carried out by Gary Harker, a former police officer and Family Liaison Officer in the collision investigation sector.

He said: “My role, as the IRVA in Warwickshire, is to pilot a project aimed at endorsing how important, and effective, local support is for road crash victims. If the pilot is proved to be a success, we hope to roll it out countrywide. I’m proud to be part of this pilot in Warwickshire, which is leading the way in providing support to road crash victims.”

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